Kevin Phillips has stated that he hopes Elliot Embleton’s and Dan Neil’s successes on loan will spur Jack Diamond on to succeed with Harrogate Town this season, during an interview with Football Insider.
Phillips, who spent six years with The Black Cats during 1997 and 2003, believes that his League Two loan spell can do brilliant things for his Sunderland career.
The Sunderland academy graduate spent the 2019/20 campaign with The Sulphurites – a season that ultimately ended in promotion for the Yorkshire club.
Diamond started 11 League One games for The Black Cats last time out, coming on as a substitute a further 13 times.
However, the next step in his development will be with Harrogate, the current occupiers of top spot in the division below.
Speaking to Football Insider about Diamond’s move, Phillips said: “This season is massive for Diamond.
“If he goes there and performs then hopefully he will come back and be a part of things next season. He needs to put in performances week in and week out down there.
“Sunderland are reaping the rewards of Embleton’s loan to Blackpool last season and there’s no reason why the same cant happen with Diamond.
“Diamond will also be looking back at Sunderland at the likes of Dan Neil and hoping he can emulate him next season. Neil looks like a very exciting player. Hopefully Neil’s progression will spur Diamond on to succeed at Harrogate.
“If that happens then Sunderland may have a top young player on their hands. It is a big season for him.”
Diamond played a big part in Harrogate’s promotion to the Football League and he now returns, a more experienced professional within a side full of confidence.
The return of the 21-year-old is an excellent boost for The Sulphurites, especially because of the amount of third-tier football he played last time out.
Diamond is an exciting talent, who possesses the ability to grow with Sunderland, but he is now in a position where he needs to prove himself once again.
The young winger should see regular football at Harrogate, something that The Black Cats were probably unable to promise him.